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In less than a month we have a long awaited trip to London and Edinburgh coming up. This trip has been scraped in various forms and rebooked more than once over the past couple of years because of job changes, pregnancy, and brand new baby factors. I thought we finally had it all booked and squared away when an unanticipated variable entered the equation…because that’s how family travel works.
That variable is the Grandma Factor. I’m a huge advocate of multi-generational travel on big trips whenever possible for many reasons, including of course creating lifelong memories, and when young kids are involved, an invaluable extra set of helping hands. That said, it is a careful balance between when a trip is simply something many family members are taking together as opposed to one when a family member or two is coming along primarily to help. In the latter case, I think that it is appropriate for the ones needing the help to shoulder the travel costs of the family members coming to help, if if the one(s) helping aren’t (hopefully) 24/7 “nannies”.
Along those lines, we had asked if Grandma could come along on this trip back when it was booked, and it for a variety of reasons it didn’t seem that would be possible this time around. However, she now could probably make the trip, and that has thrown my plans into a tail spin.
I could simply say “thanks, but no thanks” to her offer, and she would be no worse for wear. However, I know how much better the trip could be with her on it, plus I know there are parts of it she would really enjoy, so I’m torn on what to do.
Remember that time she flew in with her Grandma Cape and saved a ski trip?
As you can probably guess, adding a person to a trip to an already booked trip to Europe is not as easy as booking a last minute ticket to Colorado. Flight prices and availability are different than when we booked. We can’t just squeeze an extra person into our hotel room, and room availability has changed there since we booked. I also hate the idea of us sitting in business class and her potentially being in economy because that’s all that is available. In other words, there are some real logistical and financial hurdles to adding another person to this trip that is less than a month away.
This process of trying to decide what is best has required me to totally re-examine almost everything I had booked to see what would now be best with the Grandma Factor. I’m thrilled at the idea of getting to experience a bit more in London and Scotland than we would have if it was just us and the two little ones, but I’m a little overwhelmed at trying to fit this square peg (party of five) into a round hole (reservations for four).
If budgets were unlimited it would be a pretty easy fix, but since that is very much not our reality, this is a bit harder.
Have you added a person to a big trip at the “last minute”? I’d love to hear any stories, advice, or tips! I really want to make this work, and at the same time avoid going broke…not that Grandma’s not worth that, but she would not be pleased with that outcome!
Oh, and expect many more questions and family travel ideas related to London and Edinburgh in the coming days…
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